Emmet the Lab

An improvised pool.

Emmet was born in June of 1998. He was donated anonymously to Helping Paws with the intent that he would become a service dog. He was given to my (now ex) wife Carina and I the day we returned from our honeymoon so we could foster him.

His first school photo
I was working as a teacher when we first got Emmet. Since the plan was for him to be a service dog, I had him at school with me every day from the start. He spent his days in a kennel in my storage room and he’d come out during lunch and after school to work on training tasks. The kids loved him and it was a great place to train. As he got older, he got to have his own school pictures too.

Emmet's Knee Xrays

Early in Emmet’s life, he was diagnosed with patellar luxation, which simply means that his kneecaps would float of place, causing him pain until it popped back into place. This x-ray image demonstrates that beautifully. The fix was to surgically repair both of his knees to prevent that from happening. We did the surgeries six months apart and he never had a single problem with his knees for the rest of his life, apart from a bit a of arthritis.

Emmet completed the Helping Paws service dog training classes, but it was decided that he would not be placed due to his fear of of other dogs and concern about his knees. He was placed with Carina and I as our much loved pet.

Emmet was quite a dog. He loved people. He loved kids. He loved life. He loved playing frisbee. He loved to swim. He loved to eat. He lived every moment of his life, right up to the day he died.

Canine Toe Cancer
Had you ever heard of cancer of the toe? This was a new one to me, but after talking to a couple of vets and doing some reading, I’ve found out that it is more common that you might think. Dogs can get various types of cancerous tumors in their toes and in many cases, these cancers are quite aggressive and will metastasize to other parts of their body. One of the symptoms of toe cancer is that the dog loses a nail. The reason? The tumor is growing in the nail bed and ultimately destroys it.

Emmet was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma tumor in his toe. The treatment sounds pretty drastic — and it is. We had the cancerous toe amputated, in hopes that it would prevent the cancer from spreading. Fortunately for us, the toe we had removed is a non-weight bearing toe, and he hardly missed it. Unfortunately, the surgery did not prolong his life. Just a few short weeks later, Emmet died of GDV, more commonly known as bloat.